I USED TO be a little left of centre with my views on social policy; it probably ties back to my love of the fair go culture of our Aussie colonial origins. Yet I grew up in a blue ribbon Frenchs Forest home where you didn’t talk about your politics and no one could ever explain to me why they voted Liberal. It was just what we did.
I spent 15 years working in the Industry Superannuation Fund movement from the mid 1980s and it was very much left leaning. It was hard not to think left, and while living in Newtown in my early twenties, on the 2nd of March 1996 I handed out how to vote cards on King Street for the young Labor candidate for Grayndler, Anthony Albanese.
Many years later, back on the Northern Beaches, I switched to Malcom Turnbull for his public views, his statesmanship, and my disgust of Bill Shorten. Yet he was taken hostage by the extreme right.
What on earth had I done?
Sadly, I then supported Scott Morrison because he was a man of God like me and Shorten had lost the plot, spending all of his political capital by layering tax upon tax policy, which would never be acceptable.
I observed a strong man who appeared to use his faith to his advantage, quite slow to respond to genuine tragedies likes fires and floods, and bullying his way through women’s issues defending fellow male ministers with serious accusations against them.
And doing secret deals with Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals, pork barrelling Liberal electorates, mismanaging defence, throwing out French deals and failing to put in place a federal ICAC-style body.
It was tiring and, frankly, hurtful. Scott Morrison had failed me on nearly every front.
Being so disappointed and living in a safe Liberal seat, I heard about Voices of Mackellar, and Mackellar Rising’s grassroots drive to elect an independent, Dr Sophie Scamps. I thought this offered so much more than the same major party games, politics and corruption. I thought we needed an independent who listened to us and fought for the issues we cared about.
One of the greatest moments of my life
So I joined the volunteer campaign and immediately waved corflutes, knocked on doors, chatted with shoppers at Glenrose and Terrey Hills, handed out how to vote papers in pre-polling and, my greatest and proudest civil role ever, booth captain at Wakehurst Public School in Belrose where I had gone to school in 1973.
It was a responsibility I was so proud of I sent out special messages to the other volunteers on the booth of my joy and our key role on election day. I spent three hours on Friday night putting up Dr Sophie banners and posters, then I smiled and pleaded with voters to trust their local GP and vote for Climate Change and integrity in politics.
I had the enormous privilege of being asked to scrutineer, and observe a huge swing to Dr Sophie! It was so much more in her favour as compared to the sentiment and demeanor of the voters coming through the school gates. And then social media posts started coming through of massive swings to the Mackellar independent.
I rushed down to the Dee Why RSL campaign gathering to join hundreds of people in Dr Sophie T-shirts, and in what seemed like minutes the campaign manager Jackie Srubby and Dr Sophie Scamps appeared to thank the volunteers and make an acceptance speech.
It was surreal, and honestly one of the greatest moments of my life!
I had converted my belief, my civil right, my desire for dramatic difference in politics in this country into a massive change and win for Mackellar! Thank you God!
No Fibs #MackellarVotes coverage
- 1. #transitzone interview with Sophie Scamps before she decided to stand.
- 2. Sophie Scamps’ campaign launch speech, December 2021
- 3. Twitter’s report on Sophie Scamps’ launch.
- 4. #transitzone interview with Sophie Scamps’ wing woman, Louise Hislop.
- 5. Women of #MackellarVotes rose: Voices of Mackellar cofounder Leonie Scarlett on the miracle win
- 6. Elation and relief after volunteering for Sophie Scamps at #MackellarVotes: Paul Boland’s story
- 7. Julie Donald’s story on that ear shattering moment on election night when #MackellarVotes made history
- 8. Alice Thompson’s #IndependentsDay campaign in 2019